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On-set injury reports increase, some cases go unreported

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2016 | Workplace Safety

Entertainment insiders have indicated that safety risks are increasing on TV and film sets. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has also received more reports of serious accidents on sets since 2014. This increase might be a surprise to Oklahoma movie fans, because the industry promised to improve safety awareness after the deadly crash on the film set of “Midnight Rider”.

In February 2014, a train hit and killed a 27-year-old female camera assistant as she filmed on a Georgia railroad trestle. Eight other people were injured in the accident. According to investigators, the director-producer got the scene ready even though he had no permission or permit from the owner of the property. He, the first assistant director and the unit production manager later admitted guilt to involuntary manslaughter and trespassing. OSHA fined Film Allman LLC, the production company, $74,900. The director-producer served a jail sentence.

In 2016, the federal agency increased the fines for repeated or willful workplace safety violations by 78 percent from $70,000 to $124,709. Also, a campaign to raise awareness about on-set hazards has received support from many celebrities and entertainment organizations. However, OSHA received almost twice the amount of serious incident reports in 2015 than 2014.

Experts in the industry warn that some accidents are never reported. Some of them say that financial pressures are squeezing production budgets. They blame this for affecting safety choices. It’s alleged that concern about lost profits was a factor in the plane crash that killed a pilot in 2015 during the filming of “American Made”, a movie starring Tom Cruise. A wrongful death lawsuit was filed after that accident.

Most Oklahoma workers who are injured on the job are covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. The claims process is time-sensitive and fairly detailed, and thus having the assistance of an attorney can often be advisable.


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